1.9m people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, survey says

Number of Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS drops to 1.9m

'Nigeria, fourth country with highest HIV/AIDS victims'

He said that the new prevalence of HIV and AIDS according to the result gives an estimate of 1.9 million people living with HIV in Nigeria presently.

He stated this on Wednesday when he attended the announcement of the Nigeria HIV/AIDS indicator and impact Survey results in Abuja. Isaac Adewole, on Thursday said Nigeria had been ranked the 4th country with the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS.

"This is a transformative moment for the country, because the survey is the largest survey we have managed to have in the history of the response to HIV".

According to results from the survey conducted among adults between the age of 15 to 64 years across the six geo-graphical zone, the North Central zone follows closely with 2.1 per cent, while the South East zone is at 1.9 per cent.

"On behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, we'd like to express our profound gratitude to you and your organisation for the great cooperation extended to us to tackle this major health challenge", Onyeama said. The NAIIS directly measured HIV prevalence and viral load suppression and was primarily funded by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

He added that in line with his administration commitment to healthcare, the government would ensure more people living with HIV are put on free anti-retroviral treatment.

He added that the survey should however be used as a new beginning to do more work in the fight against the epidemic.

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"Today is a critical turning point in Nigeria for an HIV epidemic that has killed many of our countrymen and women".

He said NAIIS also showed that the country was able to effectively provide antiretroviral treatment. "Everyone infected with HIV needs to get treatment so they can achieve viral suppression, especially pregnant women".

She thanked development partners, whose support in the HIV response has been invaluable, and charged government at all levels to increase funding for HIV response using Nigeria's own domestic resources.

On the entourage of Dr. Sidibe were the Country Director of UNAIDS, Dr. Erasmus Morah, Director General, National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (NACA), Dr. Sani Aliyu and other officials.

"Also, we thank the United States of America for assisting us to ensure our goals are achieved", he said. "As a government working with our partners, we have what it takes to support people who are HIV-positive, to provide treatment, to protect their families and to help people live long and healthy lives".

Mr Michel Sidibe, the Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), commended NAIIS for a job well done, noting that the result of the survey will be a game changer for Nigeria. Fieldwork was conducted between July and December 2018.

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